Sam McCrory was known to Wichita-area law enforcement, and he was also known to Wichita protesters, as a man who would show up to protests, uninvited, wearing black, SWAT-like outfits, a mask, and openly carrying assault rifles and pistols.
McCrory was arrested yesterday, after posting comments to Facebook about possibly “storming the courthouse” and shooting police officers who tried to stop him.
McCrory was upset by the prosecution of Kyler Carriker, who was acquitted on charges of felony murder, shortly after McCrory’s arrest for criminal threat and weapons charges.
McCrory was not affiliated with Carriker’s family or the protesters, although he did show up to one of the protests in support of Carriker, carrying a weapon. He was told that the weapon was not welcome at the protest and was eventually convinced to conceal it.
Carriker’s family and supporters applauded McCrory’s arrest.
We first met Sam McCrory in November of 2014 when he showed up at a march against police violence at Douglas and Broadway. McCrory stated at that time that he didn’t really care about the issue, but was there to recruit for a militia he wanted to form, with the goal of “protecting people from government tyranny”.
Several protesters were uncomfortable with McCrory’s insistence on openly carrying weapons at peaceful protests, and some of those protesters refused to participate due to McCrory’s presence.
As the organizer of that particular march, I was not able to prevent McCrory from marching on public street with his weapons. Kansas is an open carry state, so we thought McCrory was operating within his rights.
What we did not know is that McCrory was actually a convicted felon, which made his possession of those weapons a felony charge, punishable by up to ten years in prison for each instance.
Because McCrory became rather well-known for being in public places in his outfits, carrying his guns, many are questioning why the police did not realize McCrory was a convicted felon.
Our theory is that the police did know that McCrory was carrying the weapons illegally, but that they were unable to arrest McCrory, due to a lack of probable cause to run his name through the system in the first place. While McCrory’s actions were admittedly bizarre, Kansas law allows lawful gun owners to walk down the street carrying weapons. Had the police run McCrory’s name, found his prior felony, and then arrested him on weapons charges, McCrory’s attorneys may have been able to argue that police violated his rights to privacy by running his name through the system without just cause.
UPDATE: The Wichita Eagle got to the bottom of how Sam McCrory was able to walk around town, openly armed, while being known to police and a convicted felon. Essentially, his record was not readily available to law enforcement. Read the details here:
McCrory was also known as a strong advocate for open carry and gun rights, rights which, ironically, he did not have as a convicted felon.